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Old 3rd February 2011   #1
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Default Titian Masterpieces on U.S. Tour

Titian's Diana and Callisto and Diana and Actaeon are currently touring the United States. These two magnificent works, each a veritable feast for the eyes, have been released for sale by a private collector. The National Galleries of Scotland and London will purchase one of the paintings, but unless the museums can raise enough money to buy the second, these companion works will be separated. This tour might be the last time these two paintings, with their lush portrayals of full-figured feminine divinity, will be exhibited together.

Two Titian Masterpieces Traveling the U.S.

In addition to these two Diana paintings, ten other paintings and thirteen drawings fill out the touring exhibition. It will be at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts until May 1, and at the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston from May 22 through August 14. It's unfortunate that this tour has included only three cities (Atlanta hosted the exhibit last fall), but let's hope that the National Galleries will be able to keep the two paintings together.
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Old 3rd February 2011   #2
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Default Re: Titian Masterpieces on U.S. Tour

Thank you so much for posting about this exhibition, Maureen. I hope I can see it in Minneapolis during the spring or in Houston over the summer.

The Minneapolis Institute of Arts has unveiled a beautifully designed microsite which describes the works and provides a wealth of information about Titian and the High Renaissance:

It features reproduction of the two paintings. This is Diana and Actaeon, the painting that the National Galleries have purchased:

And this is Diana and Callisto, the one that could end up being privately sold. In my opinion, it's the more beautiful of the two.

However, as the NPR article indicates, nothing matches the experience of seeing these paintings in person, in real life:

In the 1550s, King Philip II of Spain commissioned Titian to paint a series of large canvases based on mythological subjects. The king seems to have had a healthy libido, and Titian had his number; the two canvases are crowded with some of Titian's most voluptuous nudes. And now that I've seen them, I can testify that even more than with most paintings, reproductions do these no justice.

They are radiant — luminous with rich reds and golds, pearl and creamy flesh tones. And they're extraordinarily moving.

The exhibition is truly phenomenal. It also includes Titian's luscious Venus Rising from the Sea ('Venus Anadyomene') of c.1520. Just look at the round fullness of her arms:

To top it off, it even includes Veronese's Venus, Cupid and Mars (c.1580), with a very soft, fair-skinned blonde Venus:

This is a once-in-a-lifetime exhibition. Anyone viewing it will experience a far more gorgeous presentation of true feminine beauty than they can find in any fashion magazine. Not to be missed.
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Old 9th February 2011   #3
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Default Re: Titian Masterpieces on U.S. Tour

The paintings are gorgeous. I especially hope that the schoolchildren in Minneapolis will be taken to see this exhibit. Young girls are bombarded by so much weight hysteria these days that to have a curvier alternative put before their eyes, to have them see images in which female fleshiness is celebrated, could do them a great deal of good.

I thought of that when I came across the following article about a history project that a U.S. school undertook.

The background:

For their National History Day project, ninth-graders Maria Alfieri and Jennifer Saade looked past remote wars and constitutional amendments.

Instead, they focused on something more personally intriguing: Barbie – and the iconic doll’s impact on female self-esteem.

First, the bad: Barbie’s figure was statistically possible in only one of every 100,000 young women – essentially setting an unhealthy and impossible standard of beauty.

“Barbie made some girls feel bad about their own body image,” said Maria, 16.

But just as important as having girls recognize than an underweight figure is harmful is giving them a curvier alternative:

Sophomores Kristin Harper and Katelyn Carty were unnerved to see the extent that women’s magazines used digital altering to change the way models looked.

In the 1800s, society looked for curves in women but now they’re looking for people who really thin and tiny and they’ll Photoshop your picture to make you look tiny,” said Kristin.

“What I would tell other teens is you don’t have to look like the women in magazines – you should have your own shape,” she said.

Before doing their project, the girls undoubtedly never realized that the glamourization of emaciation is an aberrant, recent phenomenon; but after encountering examples from history, the girls learned that the historical ideal of beauty was very different, much fuller and softer.

The Titian exhibition could do the same for many girls, if they got the chance to see it- opening their ideas to a preferable aesthetic alternative.

This shows the importance of introducing today's youth to their own history and heritage (which has been denied them), to give them a frame of reference that is the opposite of the media's unnatural standard, to show them a very different set of values (aesthetic values, and other values) that they may well find preferable to the toxic values of postmodern society.
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